New-look Wolverhampton Railway Station opens with first phase of £150m project complete

Wolverhampton station

New-look Wolverhampton Railway Station opens with first phase of £150m project complete

The first stage of the £150 million upgrade of the city’s train station has been completed as work to knock down the existing out-dated building starts from this week.

Richard Cronin, Executive Director at Austin-Smith:Lord said “We are delighted to see the Phase 1 concourse open to the public, taking pressure off the existing much smaller booking hall and concourse. The station was designed to allow for a growth in patronage taking account forecasts until 2035, that additional space will now be vital to maintain social distancing and to destress the passenger experience as we return to public transport. It has been over 10 years in the making and thanks to Ion Developments and  City of Wolverhampton Council for standing behind the scheme through the 2008 financial crisis and now a pandemic and to Galliford Try, Network Rail, West Midlands Trains for coming together to finish Phase 1. Finally a mention to Virgin Trains without whom the early stages of this and getting it to site would not have happened

Click here for Express & Star news article.

Preparation of Frameworks for the Future of (Y)our City Centre Glasgow Underway

(Y)our City Centre Districts Base Map

Preparation of Frameworks for the Future of (Y)our City Centre Glasgow Underway

Glasgow City Council have appointed a multi-disciplinary team of local and international consultants to prepare pioneering planning frameworks for the future of four City Centre Districts.

A team, led by Glasgow-based Austin-Smith:Lord, have recently been appointed by Glasgow City Council to prepare the next round of District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs) for Cowcaddens, Townhead, the ‘Learning Quarter’ and the Merchant City districts. This follows on from work by the same consultants for the (Y)our City Centre DRFs for Broomielaw, St. Enoch, Central and Blythswood.

(Y)our City Centre Districts Base Map

The team includes Rotterdam-based urbanists Studio for New Realties led by Jeroen Zuidgeest who was involved in previous (Y)our City Centre DRFs as Partner at MVRDV. The team also draws upon the expertise of Urban Movement and Civic Engineers – who are working with Glasgow City Council on the Glasgow City Region City Deal ‘Avenues’ project and local artist-led organistion, WAVEparticle who recently represented Scotland at the Venice Biennale and have undertaken community-led projects on High Street-Saltmarket and in Laurieston.

The next DRFs will be prepared in consultation with local communities across all four Districts to respond to and enhance their distinctive local character. Working in collaboration with residents, businesses, community, civic and cultural organisations alongside major institutions including the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow Caledonian University and City of Glasgow College it is intended to develop forward-thinking plans to help shape the future of these vital city centre districts.

The Regeneration Frameworks will establish a planning strategy to respond to opportunities and challenges these Districts face to enhance the quality of life, health and wellbeing of the local communities, economy and the environment.

The Frameworks will capitalise on the area’s rich built and social heritage, diverse local culture and community assets including local businesses, city centre College, Universities and Innovation District. The Frameworks will also address the big challenges facing contemporary society including health, social and economic inequalities, climate change and how the city can renew and recover post-Covid-19.

(Y)our City Centre Four Districts Aerial View

The Frameworks will promote both local and large scale projects in an action plan considering how to fund and deliver regeneration with short, medium and long term interventions. The Frameworks will be prepared in consultation and collaboration with local communities over the remainder of 2020 and into 2021 with the intention that they will be published in late 2021 / early 2022. Details of how local communities and stakeholders can engage and help shape and influence these future Frameworks will be published in the coming weeks, with updates at .

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council and City Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth, said: “It’s vital that our city centre is equipped for both the structural changes facing our high streets and the need for carbon neutrality within the next decade.  These shifts are already creating both challenge and opportunity and the district regeneration frameworks will give us the blueprints to renew the beating heart of Glasgow.  A team of leading experts with international and local experience will assist us in shaping that future, whilst retaining the strengths and character we cherish about each district.  We need our communities to come with us so I would urge all those whose neighbourhoods are within the frameworks to get involved in our consultation in the months ahead.

Graham Ross, architect and urban planner at Austin-Smith:Lord, said: “It’s a great privilege and big responsibility to be taking on the preparation of these Regeneration Frameworks with local communities in these pivotal city centre Districts. Developing distinctive solutions drawing upon the creativity and wisdom of local people, in combination with international best practice, will ensure our city can thrive in the future. We will explore ways in which Glasgow can recover from the impact of Covid-19. We hope to develop imaginative and practical ways to adapt to economic and climate change that deliver enduring and positive regeneration”.



Background Context 

The city centre is one of Glasgow’s most important assets. Glasgow City Council’s City Centre Strategy identifies nine Districts and a series of ‘Avenues’ as the basis of planning and delivering sustainable regeneration across the city centre. Good progress has been made with the first five District Regeneration Frameworks (DRFs) published, and designs for the first two ‘blocks’ of Avenues underway, following the construction of the Sauchiehall Street ‘Avenue’ Pilot.

A DRF is a 10 year regeneration planning framework and action plan. Each District Regeneration Framework will guide physical, social and economic regeneration and may inform Supplementary Planning Guidance (Local Development Frameworks and/or Strategic Development Frameworks as defined in the City Development Plan 2017). The DRFs support the City Development Plan and the City Centre Strategy.

The adopted (Y)our City Centre DRFs promoted an ambitious future vision that includes a River Park along the Clyde, increased city centre living with enhanced community facilities and improvement to walking, cycling and public transport networks to create healthy, sustainable connections between communities and opportunities. The (Y)our Broomielaw DRF secured a Scottish Design Award in 2019.

(Y)our City Centre DRF Team

Glasgow City Council City Centre Regeneration: Client

Austin-Smith:Lord: Lead Consultants / Local Design (Urbanism, Landscape, Architecture)

Studio for New Realities: Urban Strategy Lead, Urbanism

Urban Movement: Urban Mobility – Transport Planning + Active Travel

WAVEparticle: Creative Community Engagement

Civic Engineers: Sustainable Engineering

Stantec: Economic Consultants

Ryden:  Property Advisers

Useful Projects: Urban Sustainability

Space Syntax: Spatial Economics / Data Analysis

For further information please contact >

Next milestone in the development of new Fitzalan High School

Indicative view of proposed school building

Next milestone in the development of new Fitzalan High School

We are delighted that planning permission has been received for the enabling works stage of the new Fitzalan High School in Canton, Cardiff.

This marks the next phase in development for the latest project to be delivered under the Cardiff Council and Welsh Government £284m Band B 21stCentury Schools Programme.

Indicative view of proposed school building

The new Fitzalan High School will represent a £63.5m investment in the local community and see the existing school replaced with a new-build school on land next to the Leckwith Stadium.

It will be a 10 form entry school, accommodating up to 1,500 students between the age of 11 and 16, plus a sixth form. The new school will offer comprehensive sports facilities including a multi-use games area, 3G pitches and a new indoor swimming pool, replacing the current pool which is already extensively used by local schools and community groups.

These, and other facilities at the school would be available for public use outside school hours.

View of proposed changing block

The planning permission granted is for the enabling works associated with the project, ahead of the full application for the school. It comprises reprovision and enhancement of existing of sports facilities including pitches and the air dome, as well as two new changing room buildings.

Subject to planning and procurement, construction of the new school is expected to be completed in the 2022/2023 academic year.

Austin-Smith:Lord Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement

Working from home

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Statement
18th May 2020

Our COVID-19 Response Group liaises daily and meets formally weekly to ensure our policies and procedures are continuously reviewed and updated as appropriate as the situation develops and government/health authority advice evolves.

Our current position is as follows;

Our business remains fully operational and the steps we have taken enable us to deliver our services to agreed budgets, timescales and quality to the extent that external regulation and third party performance allows. This, in no small part, is thanks to the remarkable resilience and dedication of our staff.

We successfully implemented a switch to home working for all staff which has been fully in place since 20th March and, whilst we continue to develop policy and procedure for some form of return to our studios, they currently remain closed. We have issued specific guidance on Health & Safety whilst homeworking and continue to provide both collective and individual support to all staff as a matter of high priority.

We continue to follow Government and Health Authority advice, keeping abreast of changes to that advice and acting accordingly. We continue to issue advice to our staff on a regular basis through a dedicated Microsoft Teams Channel/Digital Notice Board, updating them of our own position, any changed policy or procedures and also passing on practical advice received from government and other bodies covering a wide range of topics including health, mental wellbeing and financial matters. We have requested all staff follow government advice, particularly with regard to staying at home, practicing social distancing and the ongoing need to self-isolate when circumstances dictate.

We are now operating, as a default, without physical meetings or travel so that we can fully play our part in reducing the spread of the virus. Project meetings are continuing as scheduled, fulfilled through video conferencing or telecon. The majority of our current activity is design work, together with ongoing business development conducted via video and telephone.

A relatively small proportion of our current activity relates to projects which are on site which are now subject to varying regulation and guidance across the UK. Where sites are open, our default position remains to provide our services remotely, by agreement with the client. However, as of the 18th May 2020, our Policy and Procedures have been updated to allow site visits, but only when these are essential, unavoidable and carried out under strict conditions following an in depth Risk Assessment. Our more detailed policy and procedure on site visits, together with the form of risk assessment has been conveyed and is available to all staff.

Our COVID-19 response is being led by an Executive Director assisted by both internal and external specialists in HR, H&S and IT. The situation is being monitored daily and all Executive Directors updated.

We have been in communication with our critical supply chain. This, in practice, is limited to a small number of consultants who are enabling us to provide non-core services to our clients. We have established that they are principally adopting a similar approach to ourselves including home-working where possible for business continuity and to date we have not been impacted by their own response to COVID-19. This aspect will remain under review.

You will appreciate that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and our policy and procedure will be subject to change in direct response. We will be issuing regular updates to our clients and collaborators through our website and email.


Queues to buy as Park Hill Phase 2 is launched

Park Hill Urban Splash

Queues to buy as Park Hill Phase 2 is launched

Urban Splash and Places for People have now launched the next phase of homes and workspaces at Park Hill in Sheffield. Almost 300 people came along (with queues starting from 1.30am!) to meet the team and take a look at the plans for the future of this Sheffield icon.

Austin-Smith:Lord were appointed by Urban Splash in 2016 to design and deliver the Landscape Design for Phase 2 of the Park Hill project, working closely with London based architects Mikhail Riches.

Built between 1957 and 1961 by Sheffield City Council to replace slum terraces, Park Hill is one of the most ambitious and iconic developments of its type, famous for its ‘streets in the sky’. The building covers an area of 17 acres and contained around 1,000 flats. In total the whole estate covers 32 acres.

Phase 2 is the continuation of Urban Splash’s redevelopment of the estate which began in 2007, following decades of decline. It will provide 200 new homes and around 2,000m2 of mixed use commercial space, including offices, retail and cafes.

Much of the original iconic landscape infrastructure is still present and in redeveloping the landscape a light touch will be employed, respecting and working with existing terrace levels and retaining as much of the original retaining wall infrastructure as possible, stripping away the tired 1980s and 90s interventions.

The scheme includes comprehensive Public Realm improvements, creation of shared surface access routes, reorganising car parking, and the creation of a resident’s courtyard garden.

Image Credit: Urban Splash and Uniform


For more information and hi-res images please contact:
Surriya Falconer
Falconer Associates
T: 0114 236 2494
M:07770 415262


About Urban Splash:

Urban Splash was founded in 1993 by Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE and Creative Director Jonathan Falkingham MBE; the company has spent more than two decades working with world-class architects and designers to restore old buildings and create new, sustainable communities.

Headquartered in Manchester, with regional bases in Liverpool, Leeds, Bristol, Sheffield and Plymouth, the company has invested a billion pounds creating more than 5,000 new homes and jobs in over two million sq ft of commercial space.

It has won more than 420 awards for delivering challenging regeneration projects including; Fort Dunlop in Birmingham, Chimney Pot Park in Salford, Castlefield and New Islington in Manchester, The Midland Hotel in Morecambe, Royal William Yard in Plymouth, Lister Mills in Bradford, Park Hill in Sheffield, Rotunda in Birmingham, Matchworks in South Liverpool and the Ropewalks in Liverpool.


Places for People is a leading placemaker in the UK. It believes that places work when they work for everyone, and these places are designed for the long term, with sustainable value at their core. Delivering social impact by taking a commercial approach is what makes Places for People different.

The JV between Urban Splash and Places for People has 4 regeneration sites; as well as Park Hill in Sheffield there are sites in Bristol, North Shields and Birmingham bringing the strengths of both partners to each project.

The Group’s award-winning, placemaking, property investment, development and management companies are active throughout the UK and collectively have the capability and expertise to create and manage entire places, considering all the things a place needs to become a sustainable community.

Places for People owns or manages more than 197,000 homes, provides services to over 500,000 people, operates over 120 leisure facilities, has assets of £4.5bn, and will be delivering 25,000 new homes in the coming years.

Maelfa project receives unanimous support at Planning Committee

Maelfa Regeneration

Maelfa project receives unanimous support at Planning Committee

We are delighted that Maelfa Older Persons Independent Living project, a scheme we are developing for Cardiff Council, has received unanimous support at Planning Committee. The project is a part of the ongoing transformation of the Maelfa neighbourhood, with Austin-Smith:Lord having been previously involved in the masterplanning and delivery of mixed used, housing and public realm spaces for the wider regeneration of the area.

The high quality sheltered housing development, consisting of 41 care-ready flats, will provide modern, spacious homes for older people to ensure residents can live a full and active life in an accessible location. The development revolves around interconnected communal spaces to offer opportunities for social interaction and sharing activities.

The Project Team includes:

Cardiff Council
White Young Green
Cambria Consulting
DRAC Consulting

Austin-Smith:Lord MIPIM 2020 Statement


Austin-Smith:Lord MIPIM 2020 Statement

Having closely monitored the apparently deteriorating situation regarding the unpredictable spread of coronavirus Austin-Smith:Lord have decided not to send a delegation to Cannes for MIPIM 2020.

We had been anticipating a positive and constructive trip to MIPIM this year. However we do not wish to take unnecessary risks with our team’s health and safety and have decided not to attend.

We hope that the meetings we’d planned for MIPIM can occur at another time. If you wish to discuss our decision or to reschedule a meeting please do not hesitate to contact us.

Austin-Smith:Lord Appointed to £500M Pagabo Framework


Austin-Smith:Lord Appointed to £500M Pagabo Framework

Austin-Smith:Lord are delighted to be appointed to Pagabo’s Professional Services Framework.

Launching in April, the second generation of the Professional Services Framework anticipates a fee value of £500m over a four year period and will see 77 providers split across 18 service specific lots in seven geographical regions including civil, structural and highways engineering, building services, landscaping and building surveying. Austin-Smith:Lord have been appointed to the lots covering Heritage and Landscape Architectural Design Services.

Simon Toplass, CEO at Pagabo, said: “We were blown away by the number of responses to the tender for this second iteration of our Professional Services framework. It’s been a hugely competitive process due to the record number of applications from well over 200 individual providers.

The current generation of the framework has enabled close to 700 projects since its inception and is on track to reach its upper limit of £200m. Furthermore, over £141m of social value has been enabled to date.

Mike Yates and Matthew Dyer from Austin-Smith:Lord attended the framework introductory meetings on 4th Feb in London and 5th Feb in Leeds.

The second generation of the Professional Services framework will run for four years, becoming active from April 2020.

Meet Austin-Smith:Lord at MIPIM 2020


Meet Austin-Smith:Lord at MIPIM 2020

Austin-Smith:Lord will be attending MIPIM 2020, joining delegates in Cannes from 9-12 March to discuss future development trends and opportunities across urban regeneration, mixed-use, commercial, residential, industrial and infrastructure sectors.

Our team is looking forward to discussing opportunities throughout the UK and further afield, drawing upon our design expertise from our studios in Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Liverpool and London.

If you would like to meet up at MIPIM please just get in touch on the number(s) below or by emailing


AMRC Cymru opens for business in North Wales

AMR Broughton

AMRC Cymru opens for business in North Wales

The £20m Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru has now opened for business in Broughton. The state-of-the-art centre will be a catalyst for growth and jobs in Deeside; across North Wales and the wider cross-border and Northern Powerhouse region.

It was officially opened on 28th November by First Minister Mark Drakeford and Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates. The centre will provide businesses with a new level of research and development opportunities and support.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said “This is a world-class facility, which will be a key driver in bringing the latest research, technology and skills to Deeside and the wider North Wales region.

“AMRC Cymru will be of benefit for generations to come in North Wales and is part of our aim to have a more prosperous and equal Wales.”

The advanced manufacturing research centre will enable businesses to access advanced technologies, helping them to drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality. Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone, it will focus on advanced manufacturing sectors, including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.

The region has a strong manufacturing base and AMRC Cymru will build on this, driving world-class research and expertise across the supply chain.

Backed by £20 million from Welsh Government, and managed by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, the centre will spark economic growth by developing innovation, commercialisation and the development of a new generation of skills.

It is predicted the new centre could increase GVA to the Welsh economy by as much as £4bn over the next 20 years.

The centre will operate a 2000 square metre open access research area. Airbus will be the first major tenant and will have a platform to develop its next generation wing technologies aligned to its Wing of Tomorrow programme, which is part of a global Airbus investment in research and innovation.

Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates said “AMRC Cymru is a real game-changer for the economy of North Wales. It will boost the region’s reputation for manufacturing excellence and its impact will be felt across Wales.

“Projects such as this help to drive innovation and excellence, enhancing Wales’ reputation a as place to invest and do business. It will play a key role in bringing academia and businesses closer together, boosting skills.

“It’s an amazing facility, developed by the Welsh Government, operated by the University of Sheffield AMRC, bringing the very latest innovations and potential opportunities straight to North Wales. It will raise productivity in the region and along with the North Wales Growth Deal and our investment in infrastructure will allow North Wales to fulfil its economic ambition.

“It’s a very real pleasure after only 3 years from concept to delivery for me to see it now ready to open for business.”

Airbus senior vice president Paul McKinlay, head of the company’s Broughton plant, said “We’re delighted to be the first major business tenant of AMRC Cymru. The facility is world-class and the perfect home for our most significant research and technology programme Wing of Tomorrow.

“The programme will inform the next generation of wings so when we launch a new aircraft programme, we’ll have the technologies and systems ready to design and build the wings at the rate we need them.

“The fact the Welsh Government chose this area to invest in such innovation underlines the value of the business in the region and we look forward to seeing the development of cutting-edge technologies in a range of industries as a result of this.”

AMRC Cymru was concept designed by Arup and Austin-Smith:Lord from a standing start to planning within a very tight timescale of 12 weeks before being detailed and tendered in order to get the design and build contractor Galliford Try, selected from the North Wales Framework following an extensive tender process, and their design consultants with Arup and Austin Smith Lord remaining client side to ensure quality and compliance with the original concept.

Executive Director Richard Cronin of the practice said “It has been a pleasure to be involved with this ground breaking scheme from inception to completion. We as a team have all learnt so much about the processes and technologies that can develop from this building, seeing just a snapshot of what may be possible. This facility will secure the future of skilled advanced manufacturing and underpins the commitment under the 2015 Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act to educate and skill the region for many years to come.